St. Paul Tenant Protection Ordinance
June 15, 2020
Consideration of St. Paul’s proposed SAFE Housing Tenant Protections Ordinance has been delayed.
This ordinance was introduced in response to St. Paul’s housing shortage. This ordinance creates a chapter of rights for renters. These rights include limits on security deposits and applicant screening guidelines for prospective tenants. Full text of the proposed ordinance is here: https://bit.ly/2ySs9o8
The City Council on June 3 postponed a public hearing and vote on the SAFE Housing Tenant Protections, which would mandate several measures meant to protect tenants from unfair rental practices.
The online public hearing is now set for 10am on Wednesday, June 24. The council is expected to cast its final vote on the ordinance at 3:30pm that day unless there are substantive amendments.
SPAAR Advocacy staff requested delaying a vote on this ordinance and requested amendments to improve the ordinance.
Several amendments to the proposed ordinance have been proposed:
1. Individualized assessments: Like in Minneapolis, this change would allow landlords to screen applicants using an individualized assessment. While this may be legally fraught, landlords will have the advantage of this language being harmonized between both communities.
2. Rehab and renovations: Landlords rehabbing their property for code compliance will not be required to provide tenants financial relocation assistance payment. This is a significant change to the proposed ordinance.
3. Advance notice of sale: Only buildings with five (5) or more units will be required to give the 90-day notice for sale of the property. (This is a change from the previous draft that required notice for any building with three (3) or more units.)
4. Exemptions: Units receiving subsidies from the federal government will be exempt from this ordinance. Landlords accepting housing choice vouchers, or “section 8”, will not be required to comply with a single provision of this chapter.
5. Other miscellaneous changes: there are changes to the effective date, the addition of an implementation task force (SPAAR lobbied for this), and other administrative changes.
The SAFE Housing Tenant Protections Ordinance will impact landlord/tenant relationships for properties that meet certain criteria. The proposed ordinance has been discussed by SPAAR’s Government Affairs Committee and GA Central Subcommittee. SPAAR members have expressed opposition to and support for passage of the ordinance.
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